I Hope You Know

Five years ago today, my dad died suddenly, and we never got to say goodbye. That isn’t fair, but in typical father-fashion my dad was fond of reminding me life isn’t fair, and well, he was right.

And while I will never get to say that good-bye, there are things I hope he carried with him to whatever the next place is. I don’t know how that all works, and I don’t care what anyone says on the subject (my dad included), no one really knows. Among all the wishes and wants and regrets of a grief-stricken heart, I hope he knew how much I loved him. How proud I was that he was my dad. How safe and cherished he made me feel as his daughter.

Now, five years later, again, with no clear sense of how any of this works – if I could make a wish to the universe – there are some things I hope he knows:

Hey Dad,

I hope you know that mom is doing okay.

I hope you know that my oldest, at fifteen and walking the angst-ridden tightrope between childhood and becoming an adult, is growing into a beautiful young woman whose heart is as giving and empathetic as always. I hope you know how much I wish you could give her one of your big, tender Papa Bear hugs.

I hope you know that my youngest, soon to be a decade old, is as ready to take on the world as ever. I hope you know how often I’ve thought of the ways you knocked me down a peg or two when my sass got out of hand, and how fun it would be to see you give it a go with her.

I hope you know that the dream we talked about on those early morning rides, the sun rising over our conversations (by the way, why did all the “dad” stuff you liked to do mean getting up before the crack of dawn?), is coming true.

And most of all, I hope that in whatever way it is possible, you already know all of this…because in whatever cosmic sense I can’t fathom, you have been with us all this time.

This picture was on my dad’s phone, taken on one of his rides not long before he died. In a way, I think of this photo as the good-bye I didn’t get.